Saturday, 2 February 2019

5 Ways to Improve Your Sleep


The five letter word that can cause us so much anxiety, and completely impact how we see the world day-to-day. I've never been a morning person. I could stay up all night googling, scrolling, or watching and then never want to get up in the morning. This got me into a very unhealthy sleeping pattern as a teenager, that spiralled when I went to University. I was partying at night, and then sleeping most of my day away, as a lot of students do. I had glandular fever in my first year of University and I was understandably exhausted. However, this exhaustion continued, as the long battle of fighting post-glandular fever fatigue began. I fell into a routine of getting twelve hours of sleep, sometimes more, a night.

When I finally got over the fatigue, I had an awful relationship with sleep. I always thought that I had to get enough sleep, but getting too much also became harmful. I felt so unproductive, lethargic, and therefore, miserable! I knew that I had to try and get a better routine, and so I step by step worked on improving my night time habits in order to aid my quality of sleep.

The first thing I did was to ensure that I had no screen time before sleep whilst in my bed. The light from your phone screen keeps your eyes and brain awake, making it much harder to switch off and fall asleep. Switch off to switch off! I actually took it to another level, and I now leave my phone in a different room to avoid temptation. In my line of work, I'm constantly looking at screens, so I always take this as a moment to pause and give my eyes a rest!

"Switch off to switch off!"

I replaced scrolling through my news feed with a book. A good old fashioned book, with paper pages and that comforting new book smell. There was no Kindle in sight! I used to read as a child, before the internet was really a thing, but then in my teens, I gave up reading for Facebook instead. I find that sad now as I look back, but at least I am now making up for it! I began with a few books that could improve my knowledge on topics that were important to me, such as business, mental health, and fitness. Although, I'm currently enjoying fiction as my brain wanders off from my world into someone else's. I recently read Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman and I loved it, so if you're thinking of a book to read, I would most definitely recommend that!

Winding down in the evening is very important when it comes to the quality of your sleep and how quickly you can fall asleep too. I typically train in the gym after work, which tires me out, although for some this may have the opposite effect! I end up eating fairly late, which isn't always ideal, but my body is now used to it. I like to relax with an hour or two of TV. I avoid caffeine past 5 o'clock, and I don't over-do eating sugar, despite enjoying a small after dinner sweet treat!

I find essential oils extremely helpful when I feel particularly stressed out. I drip a few drops of Olbus Oil under my pillow to aid my breathing during the night. Some of my favourite, but higher budget, aromatherapy products include: Aromatherapy Associates Muscle Gel (the best product for anyone with tense muscles or a sore neck and traps!), Neom Pressure Point Roller (this roll-on scent is so calming, I apply it to my wrists and then take a few deep breaths in and out through my nose), Aromatherapy Associates facial oil in Inner Strength (this facial oil is great for dry skin, with a gorgeous relaxing scent).

Finally, I invested in an affordable alarm clock. There's no bells or whistles, it simply does the job. Since setting my alarm clock to wake me up in the morning, I have developed a much better routine and sleeping pattern. As a result, I feel much more rewarded, and productive with my day. I now get around eight hours sleep a night. Eight hours is still a fair amount for someone of my age, but I realised my body definitely works best on this amount of sleep, and my mood is greatly improved.

In summary:

- Leave your phone in a different room
- No screen time in bed
- Calm your brain and read a book
- Wind down in the evening
- Consider mindfulness and aromatherapy products
- Purchase an alarm clock

What are your top tips for getting a great nights sleep? Leave a comment below!

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